Arsenal have confirmed their second signing of the winter transfer window with defender Cedric Soares joining them from Southampton on loan for the season.
Earlier this week, The Athletic’s David Ornstein claimed that the Gunners were on the cusp of landing the right-sided defender and the club have now officially announced the arrival of the Portugal international.
“Portuguese defender Cedric Soares is to join us on loan until the end of the season,” a statement read on the club’s official website on Friday.
Cedric has been out of action for the past 10 days with a knee injury and speaking in a press conference on Friday, Arteta confirmed that the 28-year-old won’t be available for the Burnley clash this weekend.
Hector Bellerin has taken over the right-back duties from Ainsley Maitland-Niles after recovering from his hamstring issues and the Spaniard is definitely regarded as the first-choice option going forward.
As such, Soares is likely to play as the deputy to the Spaniard, preferably in the Cup and European games, and that would definitely hamper the playing time for Maitland-Niles.
Maitland-Niles has been impressive over the past couple of months while playing as the makeshift option on the right side of the defence, but he could now compete for a midfield spot under Arteta.
Obviously, he has plenty of competition with Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi among those ahead of him in the pecking order and only time will tell whether the club graduate can secure regular first-team football under the Gunners boss.
Meanwhile, Soares’ deal with the Saints is set to expire at the end of the current campaign. This may put the Gunners as the favourites to sign him on a free transfer, should he impress during the next four months.
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